Fossil fuel is a finite resource. We must get off of it. In addition, our current large "base load" power plants and our large power transfer lines are far too easy targets for terrorist or for our enemies in times of war. So, while we must get off of fossil fuel, we must also downsize our grid and spread it out into smaller generation units that are less of a target for people seeking to do us harm. In our plan to develop a better power generation system for the United States we must address all concerns: reliable, safe, environment friendly, secure, cheap and renewable. Below is a step by step approach to overhauling our Power Generation System (some content is from Introduction to Distributed Power Generation. I highly recommend this site as while it does not have all I am going to suggest, it does a great job of defining Distributed Power Generation. First, there are 3 critical steps that must be done "up front":
DISTRIBUTED GENERATION - THE FUTURE
Step 1: Set a hard date to phase out Large Base Load fossil fuel power plants. Do not just outlaw them and close them. Use rational thinking instead of politics. Set realistic year by year goals to phase them out with a hard date to have all out of service. Since the average life of a base load power plant is 30 to 50 years, set a date of 40 years as a target to remove all base loads system from our grid.
Step 2: Develop the concept our new power generation system that will provide realistic, common sense guidance that is void of political influnces...as once something is politicised...it is doomed! Stay clear of political motives for power genration development. It is the "people" we are trying to help...not the politician!
Step 3: Fund and execute the plan over a period of 40 years. Do not attempt to accelerate it. We have 200 to 300 years, maybe more, of fossil fuel....use 40 more years of it while we slowly convert over to a better Power Generation System.
THE ANSWER IS: Distributed Power Generation. It is basically a concept of taking a centrally located large base load fossil fuel power plant producing, let's say 675 Megawatts of electricity, breaking it up into about 130 smaller alternative power generation plants each producing about 5 Megawatts of electricity and spreading these smaller units throughout a very large area.
Whereas the large base load powerplant feeds a large very high voltage power distribution line, the smaller units would feed directly into the exiting local power structure via smart meters, removing the need for large high voltage power distribution lines. Below is an example of Now and Future based on this concept:
Current Power Generation System
Tomorrow's Power Generation System